After we trashed another city’s beloved sandwich a few days ago, we suppose it’s only fair for others to to have a fair shake at us. But we recently found two stinging examples, which seem to go a little further. The first came from the San Francisco Chronicle's critic, Michael Bauer, who gave zero stars to the Chicago-based chain Morton’s. “When I finally did start on my main course, I realized I needed to offer a second apology to any food I've criticized in the past year; by comparison, everything I've had at other places was French Laundry quality.” The Grub Street Editor in San Francisco noted that it is exceedingly rare for the Bauer to give zero stars to any restaurant, making the review all the more damning. Of course, most people are't that invested in Morton’s, as there are plenty of better reviewed steak houses in the city. Also, it was odd that he'd throw around Chicago so often throughout the review. Anyway, it was the second article about our city’s gyros that hurt the worst.
Check out the intro to this review:
Chance are, if you bought a gyro lately, you bit into compressed meat processed in some cold, mechanized Chicago plant and then trucked frozen to your friendly Greek sandwich shop just around the corner. You see, producing gyro cones is big business, which tends to belie the breezy, Mediterranean seaside, hand-crafted image of your standard Greek deli.
We were momentarily offended, until we realized that we couldn’t even remember the last gyro we had eaten. In fact, while last year's free gyro day had garnered a decent amount of attention, this year’s event was so small we completely missed it. Also, the most famous gyro joint in River North, CND Gyros and Lounge, just closed last month. Does anyone really respect the gryo?
In Michael Nagrant’s list of the best 250 bites in the city (which we have criminally under reported, if only because we are waiting for him to finish) number 144 is the Parthenon in Greektown because they are “maybe the last non pre-frozen gyro cone in the city.”
While the Morton’s piece is more of a review about what happens to badly run chain restaurants, the gryo review seems to point to something a little less flattering. So here's the real question: Does anyone still love the pre-frozen gryo? If so, we'd love to hear about it.
Time Hasn't Been Kind to Morton's [SF Chronicle]
Yamas Makes Gyros the Right Way: Without the Compressed Meat Cones from Chicago [Washington City Paper]